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An original online event showcasing & supporting new work and talent emerging from game design programs

2024 Conference Program

Coming up on Friday, February 16th!

ALL CONFERENCE SESSIONS ARE ON ZOOM.
SESSIONS ARE LISTED IN EASTERN TIME.
TIMES AND SESSIONS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

  • 11:30 AM EST

    Welcome & Introduction

    Speaker: Stephanie Barish & Jonathan Elmergreen

  • 11:45 AM EST

    Intro

    An icebreaker with Willa Lim.

  • 12:00 PM EST
    Keynote

    Industry Keynote Presentation: Preparing Your Portfolio, Perspectives from a Pro

    Polished portfolios can make or break an application. Learn from Tim Dean from the Forza franchise on how to best organize and present your work.

    Speaker: Tim Dean (Forza Franchise)

  • 12:30 PM EST
    Networking

    Meet Other Attendees! Starting with Quick Tips for More Effective, Less Stressful Networking

    Hear from an expert: strategies for networking to level up your career and your experience in the industry. Get a chance to meet people at the conference. 

    Speaker: Chris DeLeon

  • 1:00 PM EST

    Essential Questions: Before you graduate

    In this talk, Ted Dinola, a developer relations engineer at Meta, will give you answers to essential questions you should to know before you finish your degree.

    Speaker: Ted DiNola

  • 1:30 PM EST

    Endless Studios & Student Game Support

    Come hear about a fantastic studios that is interested in helping students get professional feedback and support for their games! We will be highlighting some potential job opportunities, our learning programs world-wide, and ways that you can get involved with our mission of making the world a better place via game making.

    Speaker: Andy Phelps

  • 2:00 PM EST
    Keynote

    Faculty Keynote

    Have you considered graduate school? Some games-based jobs open up if you have a graduate degree and they can lead to interesting career paths. It can also just be enriching for your own personal path and interests. A graduate degree might be right for you! In this session, Professor Bo Ruberg will discuss options for pursuing a graduate degree in games.

    Speaker: Bo Ruberg

  • 2:15 PM EST

    Funding your games

    There’s no cookie-cutter way to fund your game. Learn different avenues to get funding and the pros and cons of each.

    Speakers: Colm Seeley and Jessica Murrey

  • 2:45 PM EST

    Alternate Pathways

    A common misconception is that games degrees will only get you a job in the games industry. In fact, many graduates take different paths. Learn more from these experts.

    Speakers: Gabe Liberti & Dave (1,000 boxes) 

  • 3:15 PM EST
    Keynote

    Alumni Keynote

    From deadlines to coffee breaks: hear from Alumni about their experiences and life in the industry.

  • 3:30 PM EST

    Preparing for a career in the industry

    Learn best practices to prepare for and get hired in industry.

    Speakers: Dave Padilla and Cami Smith

  • 4:15 PM EST

    Resource yourself: professional associations supporting marginalized identities

    We all can use community and support in the industry, and marginalized groups face additional challenges in the industry. Hear from Mental Health experts as well as, professional associations working to support marginalized students and industry professionals who can provide you resources, community, and tools to support your future and help you thrive.

    Representatives from Gay Gaming Professionals, Women in Games International, Latinx in Gaming, Blacks in Gaming, Reboot Representation, and Take This.

    Moderator: Jonathan Elmergreen

  • 5:00 PM EST
    Keynote

    Strong Communities Make Better Indie Games

    Early, consistent, and empathetic communication with one’s community is key to the successful launch and ongoing sustainability of a game, particular ones built by indie or small studios. This session discusses the success of Heart Machine’s flagship game Hyper Light Drifter, an indie game and former Kickstarter project that was developed with the support of its community members, and compares it against Solar Ash, Heart Machine’s sophomore project, which was developed more in a vacuum with the support of publisher Annapurna. Yiyi and Alx discuss strategies around building community through the current development process of Hyper Light Breaker, exploring the thesis that growing and retaining player trust are essential game business + marketing factors.

    Speaker: Alx Preston

    Moderator: Yiyi Zhang

  • 5:30 PM EST
    Networking

    Last Chance to Meet Other Attendees to Make Lasting Connections

    Connect with other conference participants in this social wrap up event!

    Speaker: Chris DeLeon

Speakers

– More to come! –

Alx Preston

Heart Machine, Inc.

Alx Preston, Studio and Creative Director at Heart Machine, is an artist, first and foremost, who seeks to express himself through games, a medium so complex and challenging that only the truly determined/mad/angry at themselves would pursue a career in it long-term. And yet, here we are, some 8 odd years later, after the Kickstarter campaign that launched Hyper Light Drifter, a game with measured success and “bleak” written all over it.

Alx Preston
Heart Machine, Inc.

Amy E. Allison

Women In Games Int’l

Fearless interactive and video industry professional who knows “you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”. I specialize in making human engagements with multimedia mindful, joyful, and frictionless.

Amy E. Allison
Women In Games Int’l

Andrew Maximov

Promethean AI

Andrew, a game industry veteran and former Technical Art Director for Sony Interactive, has made significant contributions to technology in top entertainment franchises and is recognized as a Develop and Forbes magazine 30 under 30 honoree. With expertise in both technology and art, he has co-chaired the Art Direction Summit at the Game Developers Conference for eight years and served on the Siggraph Realtime Live jury, all while championing the democratization of the creative process and fostering creativity in individuals throughout his career.

Andrew Maximov
Promethean AI

Andy Phelps

Endless Studios

Andrew “Andy” Phelps is an artist, designer, and professor with over 25 years experience in the field at American University, Uppsala University, the University of Canterbury, RIT, and more. His latest games are The Witch’s Way (Itch.io, 2021) and Fragile Equilibrium (XBOX, Steam, Itch.io 2019). He is currently the Chief Learning Officer at Endless Studios.

Andy Phelps
Endless Studios

Cami Smith

Shrapnel Studio

Cami Smith – Women in Games Ambassador since January 2022. Cami has been contributing to the games and entertainment industry’s impact since 2008. Currently, Cami serves as a Sr. Executive Recruiter for a local Seattle Studio.

Cami Smith
Shrapnel Studio

Chris DeLeon

HomeTeam GameDev

Chris has been making games since 1997, professionally since 2005, though his main work for two decades has been founding several communities that support teams of beginners developing freeware games. His current and most accessible version of this format is fully remote and fits part-time, for more information visit: https://HomeTeamGameDev.com

Chris DeLeon
HomeTeam GameDev

Colm Seeley

Ukie

Colm is a data & research manager at Ukie, the UK’s trade association for video game companies where his role sees him regularly report on the size, shape and makeup of the UK industry. Before this, Colm worked in public video game funding at the British Film Institute and was an IndieCade volunteer for many years, working across tech, social media and experience design.

Colm Seeley
Ukie

Dave Rife

Game of 1000 Boxes

Dave Rife is a Brooklyn-based developer of ground-breaking interactive and immersive experiences for temporary events and permanent installations. Co-creator of Game of 1000 Boxes and co-founder of creative studio Dave & Gabe.

Dave Rife
1000 Boxes

Gabe Liberti

Game of 1000 Boxes

Gabe Liberti is a Brooklyn-based developer of ground-breaking interactive and immersive experiences for temporary events and permanent installations. Co-creator of Game of 1000 Boxes and co-founder of creative studio Dave & Gabe.

Gabe Liberti
Game of 1000 Boxes

Jannie Fernandez

Reboot Representation

Jannie is the Director of Talent Engagement at Reboot Representation. Her role focuses on connecting students to educational and professional advancement opportunities.

Jannie Fernandez
Reboot Representation

Jesse Vigil

USC Games

Jesse Vigil is an award-winning writer, game designer, filmmaker, and educator. He is the cofounder of two independent studios, an independent games publisher, and since 2013 has been teaching game design, audio for games, fabrication, attraction design, production, and pervasive game design at USC GAMES, where we was also an artist-in-residence from 2014-2019 as the designer and lead gamemaster for the alternate reality games Reality Ends Here. His games and work have been featured at GDC, IndieCade, IndieCade Europe, SXSW, SIGGRAPH, ELO, and countless film festivals around the world.

Jesse Vigil
USC Games

Jessica Murrey

Wicked Saints Studios

Jessica Murrey is an Emmy-Award-winning storyteller and international peacebuilder turned game designer. Jess is the CEO/Co-founder of Wicked Saints Studios, and creative mind behind World Reborn.

Jessica Murrey
Wicked Saints Studios

Kelli Dunlap, PsyD

Take This

Kelli Dunlap is a licensed clinical psychologist and game designer. She is the Community Director at Take This, a mental health non-profit serving the game community.

Kelli Dunlap, PsyD
Take This

Peter Zetterberg

Xbox Game Camp

With over 30 years of game industry business and development experience, Peter Zetterberg currently leads Xbox Game Camp on behalf of Microsoft. In prior roles Peter founded game studio UDS in Sweden in 1992. Later, he headed up Codemasters’ (now EA) talent acquisition and developer relations, and recently in 2018, founded company Wanderword. Living and working in Redmond, USA, Peter has played an important role in multiple publishing deals for Xbox over the past 15 years, including Minecraft, which later, in 2014, led to Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang Studios.

Peter Zetterberg
Xbox Game Camp

Ted DiNola

Meta

Ted DiNola is a game maker with over 15 years working in games, from solo development to working at a major platform and publisher.

Ted DiNola
Meta

Tim Dean

Turn 10, Xbox, Microsoft

Tim Dean is the Director of Franchise content at Turn 10 Studios, overseeing the production of shared Car and media assets as well as the content early in career program. 30 years games industry experience, working on all types of games from mobile to AAA.

Tim Dean
Turn 10, Xbox, Microsoft

Yiyi Zhang

Heart Machine, Inc.

Yiyi (she, her, pronounced ee-ee) is a community organizer, artist, and human rights lawyer based in Brooklyn, NY. As a queer immigrant woman of color in this industry, she feels a strong sense of duty to advocate for the development of diverse and supportive communities around games.

Board of Directors | Gumbo Collective, Inc.
Community + PR Manager | Heart Machine, Inc.
Vice President | Arcade Commons

Yiyi Zhang
Heart Machine, Inc.


The Future of Game Design

Horizons connects diverse and highly qualified students with one another, industry representatives, and to a worldwide community. These future industry leaders are the pipeline to change, diversity, and to the future for the industry. Through our first-of-its-kind conference and showcase, Horizons amplifies new student work and emerging talent from games programs to industry, one another, and the broader public.

Horizons 2024 builds upon the tremendous successes of its pilot programs, expanding opportunities for institutions to represent their programs and for students and faculty to connect from across the world, exploring the most important current topics, interacting with leading industry, building a robust community network, and celebrating top student and faculty work. 

Contact us: horizons@indiecade.com


Conference – February 16th

The Conference features expert panels, networking with industry, talks from alumni working in industry, and talks to address key questions games students grapple with as they move from school to industry. Open to all enrolled Horizons students and faculty. 

Not from a partnering school? You can purchase individual tickets HERE.

Showcase – April 12th

The showcase features student work which is streamed to the public and rebroadcast at the IndieCade Festival and on ESTV across Asia. In 2023, the showcase rebroadcast at the IndieCade Festival received more than 650,000 unique views alone. Schools can choose to show their student’s work through featured segments or as part of a trailer reel.

Last year’s Showcase can be found here!

Faculty Awards

Horizons recognizes outstanding faculty for tireless work in one of four categories. Nominations due by March 15th!

Learn more and make a nomination today!

NEW Horizons Ambassador Program

This meaningful benefit is available to two students for the top level IndieCade Academic Participants and Horizons Premium and Classic levels.

Ambassador Program Overview

Ambassador Responsibilities:

  • Serve as first point of contact as  liaison between Horizons for their individual institution 
  • Manage communication for faculty and staff 
  • Manage delivery of showcase assets 

Ambassador Opportunities:

  • Opportunity to attend regular meeting with ambassadors from other institutions and professionals
  • Portfolio and/or resume reviews with specialists. 
  • Opportunity for Ambassadors to have their games playtested. 

 Horizons 2022-2023 Recap

SHOWCASE

More about the schools and student games!

HORIZONS FACULTY OF EXCELLENCE AWARDS

Sonia Michaels is the Chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department at DigiPen Institute of Technology, working at the intersection of the Humanities and game development education to promote the importance of critical thinking, cultural literacy, and communication across the creative process. She has taught English (composition, literature, and science fiction/fantasy), professional communication, and public speaking for 30+ years, and has worked extensively as a career coach and admissions consultant. Soniahas presented at GDC, PaxDev, GeekGirlCon, and the New Directions in the Humanities International Conference. In April of this year, she completed a three-year elected term on the Board of Directors of the International Game Developers Association.

Jim Huntley is a Marketing and Brand Management Executive with over 20 years of experience leading teams across multiple industries. A lifelong gamer, he worked professionally at THQ for nearly 5 years as their VP of Marketing. He is an Associate Professor in the top-ranked Games Program in North America, USC Games. While there, he has led the development of their official esports organization, USC Trojan Esports, created the Gerald A Lawson Fund for Black and Indigenous Students, and is Lead Faculty for the program’s capstone class, Advanced Games Projects (AGP).

Lien B. Tran (she/her) is an Assistant Professor at DePaul University and director of Matters at Play lab, a transdisciplinary design lab partnering in the creation of interactive advocacy solutions for positive social transformations. She is an award-winning social impact and interaction designer, who creates interactive solutions at the intersections of social justice, health, and environment at the local, national, and international levels. Lien applies design thinking and human center design techniques in order to create informed, goal-directed solutions including games, apps, websites, and emerging technologies such as VR. Her work often addresses and advocates for underrepresented, marginalized communities. Previous project partnerships include Open Society Foundations, World Bank, United Nations, and Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

Bob De Schutter is an award-winning game designer, researcher, educator, and advocate for meaningful play in later life. He is a Professor of Applied Game Design at Northeastern University, where he is jointly appointed between the College of Arts, Media and Design and the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. He is also the owner of award-winning game company Lifelong Games (LLC). His work focuses on the importance of play throughout the entire lifespan and speaks out against the stereotyping of older video game players in game design and marketing.

Frans Mäyrä is the Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, with specialization in digital culture and game studies in Tampere University, Finland. Since 2002, he has been heading the Tampere University Game Research Lab, having taught and studied digital culture and games from the early 1990s. He is widely consulted as an expert in socio-cultural issues relating to games, play and playfulness, and has served as the founder and first President of DiGRA – Digital Games Research Association. His research interests range from game cultures, meaning making through playful interaction and online social play, to borderlines, identity, as well as transmedial fantasy and science fiction. He is also the director of the Academy of Finland funded Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies.

2023 PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS

Premium

American University Game Center
Bradley University, Department of Interactive Media
Clark University, Becker School of Design and Technology
Falmouth University Games Academy
Miami University
Michigan State University
Northeastern University
NYU Game Center
Purdue University
University of Miami Department of Interactive Media
USC Games

Plus

Abertay University
ArtCenter College of Design
DePaul University Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media
Kent State University at Tuscarawas
University of Tulsa
University of Utah, Entertainment Arts & Engineering

Partner

Columbus College of Art & Design, Game Art & Design
Indiana University Bloomington
Michigan Technological University
Santa Monica College
Sheridan College
Western University

Basic 

Ball State Computer Science: Game Design & Development
School of Interactive Games and Media at RIT

Horizons is possible in part from support from the Knight Foundation


Horizons is a partnership of HEVGA and IndieCade

The Higher Education Video Game Alliance is the leading academic association advocating for the critical role video game programs play in higher education, industry, and government. Our mission is to create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities.

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